Circuit of The Americas, presumptive site of the 2012 United States Grand Prix, and Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone continue to talk past each other in attempting to resolve ongoing contractual disputes regarding the event.
CoTA responded to Formula One Management’s contract requirements by agreeing to an immediate cash payment of the sanctioning fee for the 2012 USGP. Circuit of The Americas also offered to establish an advance payment schedule for USGP races beyond 2012. The offer comes after several weeks of talks, and once accepted, will secure the USGP on the Formula 1 race calendar, CoTA said in a Thanksgiving Day statement.
“We have been ready to send Mr. Ecclestone a sanctioning fee check for some time now,” said Bobby Epstein, founding partner of Circuit of The Americas. “He hasn’t received it yet because the new contract presented to us two weeks ago contained unrealistic and unfeasible demands. We have signed and returned a contract similar to what we anticipated receiving. This race should be a reality, but if we are going to make the 2012 race date, we must receive a countersignature in the coming few days. We believe the teams, fans, sponsors and local business share our enthusiasm and hope that their voices will be heard.”
Mr. Epstein seems to be operating under the supposition that Ecclestone cares one whit about what all those other voices think. He also seems to believe that modifying the contract and returning it with payment will somehow seal the deal.
Neither of these are likely true. When asked Sunday by Speed Channel's Will Buxton on the starting grid of the Brazilian Grand Prix--the final event of the 2011 season--whether the 2012 US race would happen, Ecclestone initially answered with an "I don't know," before adding, 'They're short of two things, a pen and money."
Evidently, CoTA's latest missive has yet to be received.